Visit Jedburgh and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Jedburgh, Scottish Borders, is situated in the valley of the Jed Water, a tributary of the Teviot, within 10 miles of the English Border. By virtue of its geographical location, it forms one of the gateways into Scotland from the South, lying as it does astride the main road running through the heart of picturesque Border country from Newcastle to Edinburgh, via the Carter Bar, giving easy access to the road system of the Tweed basin. The effect of time goes very deep at Jedburgh. Its history, which can be traced back to the 9th century, has had its full influence on the present-day town that still centres around the market-place upon which the principal streets converge.
It is recorded in the annals of Lindisfarne that a church was built at Jedburgh in the 9th century. Fragments of Celtic ornamented stonework, and of other supporting evidence found during restoration, indicate that Jedburgh Abbey occupies the site of this earlier church. A priory founded here by David I in 1118 was for the use of Augustinian canons who came from St Quentin's Abbey at Beauvais in France. In 1147 this priory was elevated to the status of an abbey. Much devastation occurred during invasions by the English, but the men of Jedburgh — each armed with a Jethart Staff, which he knew how to use with sure effect — always rallied to avenge themselves upon their enemies. In 1523, troops commanded by the Earl of Surrey bombarded the Abbey, and, in his dispatches to Henry VIII, the Earl commented on the valour of the Jedburgh fighters, saying “the strength of Teviotdale once destroyed, a small power would be sufficient to keep the borders of Scotland in subjection”.
Jedburgh Castle was occupied on many occasions by the English; it was one of the five fortresses ceded to England under the Treaty of Falaise in 1174 to provide the security for the ransom of William the Lion. It subsequently became a favourite royal residence. Malcolm IV died there in 1195; 90 years later, Alexander III was married to Jolande, daughter of the Count of Dreux, in Jedburgh Abbey, and, while the wedding-feast was in progress in the castle, a spectre is said to have appeared to warn the King of his impending tragic death. He died, in fact, in the following year when he fell from his horse over the cliff at Kinghorn.
The Castle was finally demolished in 1409 at national expense by order of the Scottish Parliament, after demands made by the Provost, the magistrates, and the baillies, all of whom found its periodic occupations by English forces a distinct embarrassment.
Its place is now taken by an interesting Georgian building erected in 1832 as the county jail, but still known as the “Castle”.
On the 9th of October 1566, Mary Queen of Scots arrived at Jedburgh to preside at the Justice Aire, or Circuit Court, in the Tolbooth, and she stayed at what is now known as “Queen Mary's House”, a picturesque old house in Queen Street, now owned by the Town Council and open to visitors as a museum of great historical interest. At the conclusion of the Courts, Mary made a hasty journey on horseback to see the Earl of Bothwell at Hermitage Castle, some 20 miles away, as he had been wounded in a skirmish. On returning to Jedburgh, she developed a fever and became so stricken that she nearly died. During her illness Lord Darnley came to visit her, but he left next morning, after he had slept at the residence of the Earl of Home, which stood in the High Street near the Spread Eagle Hotel.
It was not until a month later that Queen Mary was well enough to leave Jedburgh; she departed on the 9th of November with a retinue of nobility including Bothwell, who had by now also recovered from his wounds.
The town is rich in historical associations. Prince Charles Edward Stuart lodged in No. 11, Castlegate, during his march into England; much of this house remains unaltered to this day. (It is in this house that the famous sweets called “Jethart snails” are made today.) Sir David Brewster, the scientist and founder of the British Association, was born here in 1781, being the son of the Master of the Grammar School. Robert Burns and William Wordsworth both lodged in the town, and Sir Walter Scott frequently attended the Circuit Courts at Jedburgh; here, in 1793, he made his first appearance as an advocate in a criminal trial. It is recorded that Sir Walter Scott visited Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy after attending the Judge's dinner that followed the court proceedings. From Jedburgh Sir Walter, accompanied by his friend Sheriff Shortreed, used to go into Liddesdale to collect border ballads.
It has for long been famous for its rugby football, and the popular annual “seven-a-side” matches were invented by a Jedburgh man.
The Redeswire Ride is held annually, and ends with the 100-year-old Border Games. The traditional game of handba' is still played at Candlemas and Easter E'en between the “Uppies” and the “Doonies” all over the old town; it is reputed to date from before the Reformation and to have originated in Scots playing with the heads of their slain enemies.
Nearby towns: Earlston, Hawick, Kelso, Melrose
Nearby villages: Ancrum, Carham, Chesters, Denholm, Dryburgh, Galashiels, Kirknewton, Kirk Yetholm, Lilliesleaf, Newstead, Newtown St. Boswells, Otterburn, Roxburgh, St Boswells, Tweedbank
Have you decided to visit Jedburgh or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Jedburgh bed and breakfast (a Jedburgh B&B or Jedburgh b and b)
- a Jedburgh guesthouse
- a Jedburgh hotel (or motel)
- a Jedburgh self-catering establishment, or
- other Jedburgh accommodation